HARVEY - A family with 10 children escaped a house fire with only the clothes they were wearing. Now they need help.
While cramped together in a hotel room, Cynthia Kilpatrick and her children are all extremely thankful they're together. A kitchen fire put her children, ages 3-to-16 in danger, but they all managed to escape unharmed.
"It was like a dream, like pinch me. I can't believe it," Kilpatrick said.
Now they're focused on rebuilding their lives, but hey have to start over from scratch.
Kilpatrick said she never leaves the children alone without their father or their oldest 16-year-old sister, but this one time, she had to make a quick trip to sign papers. Five minutes later, her phone rang.
The 13-year-old had walked away from grease heating on the stove. The 14-year-old didn't know to never put water on a grease fire.
"I panicked, and I went in the kitchen and I had like spray on side of, the on side of the sink, and that's when I sprayed the fire with water and it got bigger," said 14-year-old Jaliyah Dawson.
If the house caught on fire, their parents taught them to get everyone out of the house and call 911. That's exactly what they did.
"I called they names and I pulled everybody to the front and I counted each children and then we walked outside," said Jamonica Dawson.
Kilpatrick, who says she is over protective of her children, blames herself for the fire.
"I normally don't leave them without they sister, so I was like, 'Maybe I should have waited,'" she said.
Kilpatrick just started a home craft business, making personalized buttons, t-shirts and hats. Her last wedding order burned along with her home.
She is grateful to the Red Cross and Harvey Fire Departments though. And even strangers are donating their complimentary hotel rooms and points to her to keep her family off the street. That human kindness is giving her peace in this difficult time.
"I have a good outlook on it. My oldest daughter told me yesterday, she say, 'stop crying Mama. This not for long. You always make it work. So you gonna make it work,'" Kilpatrick said.
The family needs a four bedroom house to rent, clothing, food, furniture and kitchen items. They don't have long to put it together. The Red Cross hotel money runs out June 21.
Marrero-Harvey Volunteer Fire Department Chief Don Robertson says this is an opportunity to for everyone to learn how to put out a grease fire: Cover a grease fire with a pot top, or use a fire extinguisher that includes class B on it. Water or moving the pan will only spread the fire.
To donate clothes, furniture, household items:
2029 Killington Dr.
Harvey, La. 70058